citizen tree pruner!

Citizen Pruner Course 1

Ahhh! I’m so excited, I just started my citizen tree pruner course!! I learned of Trees New York ( through twitter (social media can be a good thing guys!) Their mission, “ plant, preserve and protect New York City’s urban forest through education and community participation.” And for decades now, they’ve been doing just that: “Trees New York was founded in 1976 as a volunteer response to New York City’s devastating cutbacks in forestry and tree-related community services. Trees New York has 40 years of experience in community tree planting, stewardship and education projects. Since its founding, Trees New York has trained over 12,500 Citizen Pruners and 8,000 youth in tree care and stewardship. Since 2005, Trees New York has planted over 5,000 trees in underserved communities throughout New York City.”

Last year I missed the deadline for the Trees New York citizen tree pruning class, but this year I made it a point to register early. The class is 5 weeks. You learn about tree biology, and urban tree care in the “field”. You can choose to attend the course in either Brooklyn, Queens or Manhattan.  After completion, and the final exam, you are officially licensed to prune and cultivate any tree in NYC, outside of a conservatory.

In my first class, I learned why caring for the city’s trees are so important:

  • Street trees act as a sound barrier, muting sound pollution.
  • They reduce stormwater runoff, reducing pollution of our waterways and the ocean.
  • Trees clean the air we breathe everyday by absorbing, dirt, grit and dust. Our instructor Ashleigh Pettus, Operations Manager & Environmental Educator mentioned an alarming statistic. According to National Asthma Survey, in 2009, 10% of all New York City children have been diagnosed with asthma and the cost burden to New York State healthcare system $1.8 billion annually. This is why Trees New York often host planting events around schools.
  • Trees are home to our wildlife neighbors which are  intracal to our urban ecosystem.
  • Can you believe studies have show that trees around homes can increase property value by 20%
  • Tree’s are pretty! They add beauty and character to our urban landscape, softening angular city streets.

In the second half of class I learned what can harm trees and what citizen pruners can do to make sure city trees thrive. Dog waste – very bad for trees! It’s toxic and absorbs into a trees vascular system. Heat off cars, trucks and pavement affect a trees survival. Compacted soil prevents water from penetrating tree roots. Girdling is when something like Christmas lights that are not removed strangle a tree – cutting into the outermost layer, the trees life line. Vandalism damages trees. If a branch is broke off or your proclaim your love “D <3 A” by scraping into a tree, you’re exposing the tree to infection, fungus and dangerous beetles. Think of it as an open wound and it takes years to heal.

While it is NYC Parks Departments responsibility to care for all of the city’s trees the reality is it’s too expensive for the NYC to maintain very tree planted. That’s why Trees New York created the tree pruner certification class in conjunction with NYC Parks.

There’s a good chance my columns in the upcoming weeks with be tree focused because there’s so much information I want to share with you!

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tagged in nyc, trees